EFF, the ACLU, and others were in court Tuesday to try to block government attempts to obtain Twitter account records about three individuals in connection to its WikiLeaks investigation. We also asked the judge to reveal whether any other companies had received similar orders from the government.
As EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn told Bloomberg today:
There are First Amendment implications because information being sought pertains to speech...We also think there are Fourth Amendment implications because some of the information reveals location.
These secret government requests for information only came to light because Twitter took steps to ensure their customers were notified and had the opportunity to respond. In fact, EFF was only able to speak publicly about the hearing and the motions we filed on behalf of our client, Icelandic Member of Parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir, after petitioning the court to lift the seal on the legal proceedings. We also asked the court Tuesday to go further with its unsealing, and make more documents public. The issues at hand -- WikiLeaks, privacy, free speech, and social networking -- are all important matters of public interest, and the orders and motions before the judge should be available to inform public debate.
The judge did not issue an order from the bench Tuesday, but will release a written order soon.